BYU baseball finished its season-opening series against Santa Barbara Monday, losing all four games to the No. 16 Gauchos while playing on the road.
The series began Feb. 13, when Santa Barbara took an early 4-0 lead in the first two innings, and BYU was not able to recover. The Cougars succeeded in getting their lead-off batter on base every inning except for the sixth and seventh, but Brian Hsu scored their only run on a Hayden Nielsen single to right field.
“I feel really good about our offensive approach today,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said after the first game. “If a couple line drives fall for us early, it’s a one-run game.”
Santa Barbara proceeded to beat the Cougars in a doubleheader played Feb. 14, winning 6-0 and 3-1. The early game began with Cougar Robinson striking out on a backdoor slider to end the first inning with Cougars on the corners.
Santa Barbara’s preseason first-team All-American Dillon Tate continued to shut down the Cougar offense, striking out eight in 6.2 innings of work. Tate pounded the zone with a 94–96 mph fastball and found the strike zone on a variety of pitches.
Cougar sophomore Brennon Lund was one of the few Cougars to hit off of Tate. Lund extended his hitting streak to four games with singles in both games. His lead-off single in the first inning of the early game was one of four hits for the Cougars in that contest.
The second game of the doubleheader saw the Cougars almost come back for the win, but they couldn’t finish it and lost 5-4.
Freshman Colton Shaver scored BYU’s first run when sophomore Brennon Lund chopped a two-out single over the mound in the fifth. Junior Hayden Nielsen scored the second run for the Cougars after a pair of errors by Santa Barbara in the sixth frame.
BYU scored Bronson Larsen and Shaver again in the seventh off an opposite field single by Nielsen. UCSB ended the threat with a check-swing strikeout with the bases loaded.
“Overall, we played a very solid nine innings today, and I was very encouraged by our intensity and energy,” Littlewood said. “Santa Barbara is a quality team, and we are a better team after playing them.”